Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lewis: Nico and I are mates (for now)

By Stuart Neo - 7 March 2013

Lewis, in his most recent twitter post said: "About to hit them gym & maybe ping pong after with my neighbour & teammate Nico:)"

This suggests that Nico and Lewis spend time together outside Grand Prix weekends - a rarity in the F1 paddock.

Currently, Lewis and Nico are spending time living in the principality of Monaco. Their relationship seems to be comfortable and casual. Many drivers live in Monaco but how many spend their free time together?

Having spent their formative years in lower formula series as teammates has provided a solid foundation for their new relationship as teammates in Formula One.

"It's been good working with Lewis again - the memories have all come flooding back from when we were together before," reminisces Nico. "There have been no practical jokes yet, but I am sure there will be time for that."

When asked how they would manage their friendship and working relationship, Nico replied, "We managed that very well in go-karts already so I don't see any issue or concern there. We were teammates for two years, even shared the hotel room and it all worked fine. Very well, actually."

In fact, Nico Rosberg played a part in convincing Lewis to come over to Mercedes.

"We spoke about it when we were 14 years old in go-karts. 'Ah, imagine if, one day, we're team-mates in F1, how cool would that be?' Well, now all of a sudden it's happening, which is quite unreal."

"I didn't necessarily talk him into it, " Nico continued. "I tried to stay quite objective. Yes, I mentioned the positives and he asked a few things and I gave honest answers. My answers are all positive because I am positive of the team."

This is contrary to Hamilton's rather formal relationship with Button in their tenure at McLaren as teammates.

"When Lewis and myself were here together we never used to see each other. It used to be one day in the simulator and out the other." Jenson adds "I’ve seen Checo [Perez] around the place a lot, which has been good.

However, both Lewis and Nico are vigorously competitive and certainly won't be doing each other any favours on track.

Recently, the two Torro Rosso drivers have thrown the gauntlet down and have mutually agreed to end their friendship. Before entering the pinnacle of motorsport, during their time in the Red Bull junior driver programme, Daniel and Jules were close friends.

"There’s never been a moment which has separated the friendship," said Ricciardo. "It's just grown apart with competition. I think when you’re a direct rival with someone, you want to have your own space. I think it would be sort of hard to have a true friendship because, at the end of the day, we’re fighting for maybe one spot."

If the recent rupture of the friendship of the the two young Torro Rosso rookies are anything to go by, sparks may still fly in the Mercedes camp, once the honeymoon period is over.


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